Everything felt off balance. Nikki Jones, 60, couldn’t see straight or think clearly.
“I felt dizzy and completely off,” Nikki said. “I had just woken up, and I knew something was terribly wrong. I went to the hospital right away.”
Nikki had spent the night before packing and preparing to move from her apartment in Niles to a new place in Dowagiac. She was exhausted by the time she laid down. If it had just been a little stiffness and grogginess, she might have chalked it up to the packing. This was much more serious.
“The doctors told me I’d had another stroke,” Nikki said.
That was in July 2012. Just 3 months earlier, Nikki had suffered her first stroke. She walked out of the hospital under her own power 8 days later. This time would be different.
“I was paralyzed and had to learn how to use my hands and feet again,” Nikki said. “I did my rehab at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet, and it was 3 weeks this time before I could go home.”
That presented a bit of a dilemma for Nikki. She needed to move out of her apartment and time was running out. If she didn’t move soon, she’d be stuck with having to pay rent at two places – a cost she couldn’t afford.
“I was getting really worried and had no one to help me,” Nikki said. “That was before I went and talked to Alyssa Judkins. She told me that she’d see if there was something she could do to help.”
Alyssa had an idea and sprang into action.
“Nikki was usually so positive and upbeat,” said Alyssa, Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant on the Acute Rehab Unit at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet. “When I saw her that day, I asked her what was wrong and she just started crying. She told me about the situation, and I knew I had to help.”
Alyssa spread the word and rounded up a volunteer moving crew. This included Kenny Ashley, Maintenance Mechanic; Marc Clauser, Manager of Facilities Construction; and Cindy Forrester, Physical Therapist.
“I cried when they came,” Nikki said. “My heart just melted. I couldn’t believe they actually cared that much.”
After they arrived, Kenny and Marc worked on loading the truck and headed off to Nikki’s new place. Meanwhile, Alyssa and Cindy finished packing the rest of her things. They stayed the entire day and moved everything.
“I’ve never been in a hospital where the staff cares so much,” Nikki said. “They are dedicated to their jobs and their patients and have found their true callings. I TRUST them without question, and I recommend Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet to everyone.”